Confrontation: Conflict over the island state of Taiwan: What China is planning now

While Nancy Pelosi promised support to the government in Taipei, Beijing is responding with military maneuvers. How big is the risk of war?

as Nancy Pelosi arrived in the capital, messages of greeting were lit up on the tallest building in Taiwan. “Thank you,” was emblazoned on the window of “Taipei 101”, which until a few years ago was still the tallest tower in the world. The visit of Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives and thus the third highest representative of the USA, caused general joy in Taiwan, but at times seemed like a well-staged political show.

In a pathetic speech In the President’s office, the 82-year-old spoke of the fact that the world is currently faced with “a choice between democracy and autocracy” and that the USA will “always stand on the side of Taiwan”.

China warns US is playing with fire

President Tsai Ing-Wen also sent a serious message to mainland China: “Taiwan will not back down. We will do whatever is necessary to strengthen our self-defense capabilities.” The picture, which went around the world, had a high symbolic value: two women stand against the massive threat of the People’s Republic of China.

The world’s most populous country, which considers the autonomously governed Taiwan to be its own territory, has repeatedly warned against an official visit from the United States. Washington is “playing with fire” and will burn them, it said.

Accordingly, Beijing reacted with anger – and the first actions followed. The People’s Liberation Army resigned altogether six military exercises which will last until Sunday. The coordinates announced by Xinhua suggest that the troops will not only surround the island from all directions, but will also come close to the coast of Taiwan to a distance of almost 16 kilometers – and also enter its territorial waters.

China is simulating the military blockade of Taiwan

The military exercises are a clear escalation mainly because they simulate a de facto military blockade of the island – one of the possible scenarios in which the Chinese armed forces could take Taiwan. Are the world’s two largest economies headed for military conflict?

Security experts expect that the Chinese reaction to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan could also have military dimensions, such as missile tests. The Chinese military has recently invaded Taiwan’s waters and airspace more and more. In addition, the Russian government, which has been waging a war of aggression against Ukraine since February, agreed in June on closer military cooperation with China.

However, one has not yet become much more likely. Rather, China’s President Xi Jinping seems to want to save face because of his repeated declarations of war. He continues to use harsh rhetoric and economic retaliation as well.

Import of citrus fruits from Taiwan is banned

On Wednesday, the customs authorities of the People’s Republic announced that Import of citrus fruits from Taiwan because they have allegedly repeatedly shown pest residues in the past. In addition, the imports of two types of Taiwanese fish were blocked because corona viruses had been detected on their packaging.

The fact that economic revenge has so far been comparatively toothless is mainly due to the fact that Taiwan, as the leading semiconductor nation, has an invaluable trump card up its sleeve: if the global market leader TSMC no longer supplies chips to the Chinese mainland, the second largest economy would to feel this sensitively in the world. They are installed in all sorts of electrical products.

The know-how is highly complicated and diversified and can only be learned over several years, during which the business is constantly evolving. Experts are skeptical that any other country could replace Taiwan as a location for the newer generations of microchips in the medium term.

China: Taiwan belongs to us

This is another reason why China, with a population of 1.4 billion, has asserted ever more vehemently over the past few years that the island of Taiwan, with 23 million people, is part of China. It’s no longer just about history politics: At the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, the defeated nationalists fled to Taiwan and proclaimed the Republic of China (Taiwan), which the victorious communists never recognized. In addition to this rather emotional dimension of the conflict, geopolitics and economics are also behind it today.

A war with Taiwan not only would it cost lives, it would jeopardize valuable production facilities, which would also hurt the Chinese economy, which is closely intertwined with Taiwan. In addition, supply chains would collapse worldwide. Various branches of industry in practically every country in the world would be at risk – including in China itself.

So much ado about nothing? Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of the party newspaper “Global Times”, who had speculated a few days ago about a possible conclusion of Pelosi’s plane, now writes meekly: “The fact that Pelosi actually landed naturally shows that our deterrence was not enough. But it would be an exaggeration to think that we have suffered defeat or even national disgrace.” In fact, the dispute with the US has only just begun and is doomed to be “long and drawn out”.

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